I’m here to win next election

November 3, 2023 8:00 AM
Libby Mettam
WA Liberal Leader

There has been much commentary about the state of the political landscape in WA this week.

I understand the media interest in a sitting member of Parliament switching parties, but it is not unprecedented. Ian Blayney moved from the Liberals to the Nationals in 2019. Our alliance didn’t die in a ditch over the last switch and I don’t expect it will this time, either.

As with any alliance, there is always change and compromise and we have proved we can continue to work collaboratively both in Opposition and in government. We are united on that.

I also think most West Australians are not as bothered by the internal machinations of party politics as much as they are about knowing the member they elect gets on with the job of representing them and advocating for the interests of their community.

In the case of those members in Opposition, that also includes holding the Government to account for the decisions it makes on behalf of West Australians. It’s clear from the many West Australians I meet that the impact of those decisions has become increasingly hard to stomach.

After almost seven years of Labor, many are wondering what this Government is actually doing with the record surpluses it’s been gifted.

It has banked $17 billion in surpluses over the past three years on the back of record iron ore prices and a GST floor put in place by the former Federal coalition.

So it’s fair to ask: why do we have a broken health system with a Government refusing to listen to its own expert medical teams about critical issues such as the relocation of the women and babies’ hospital?

Why do we have a record number of police officers leaving the WA force with burnout and fatigue and what is this Government actually doing to address violent crime in our communities?

Why do we have one of the highest rates of family and domestic violence in the nation and escalating cost-of-living pressures leaving many families forced to choose between keeping the lights on or food on the table?

It is unconscionable that in a State as wealthy as WA, almost 400,000 WA families skipped a meal or went hungry last year, up 26 per cent from the year before. Amid a chronic housing shortage, we also have almost 1400 social housing properties sitting vacant.

We are one of the luckiest States in the country, yet the Cook Labor Government is failing the basics.

This Government has become gripped by inertia and clearly does not know how to govern.

Its go-to solution to issues it has failed to fix is to outsource the problem-solving to bureaucrats. First, we had the GST freedom fighters, then the WA embassy in Canberra and most recently the Housing Supply Unit, a so-called crack team of bureaucrats to “fix” the Housing Minister’s mess.

It’s straight from a script of Utopia.

And when projects get too hard, like building the women and babies’ hospital at QEII, the Government makes captain’s calls behind closed doors without any expert advice or consultation.

Three leaked reports signed by more than 200 medical specialists raising serious concerns about the likelihood of increased deaths and disability of vulnerable women and babies are just “alarmist rot”, according to Roger Cook.

The Premier has then attempted to mislead the community saying it will take up to 20 years. The Government’s own business case states it can be done by the mid-2030s, and the disruption can be managed.

It’s an issue I am willing to go to battle over.

Clearly, the Cook Labor Government doesn’t want to listen to the experts, but I will.

On the weekend, I announced a Government I lead will ensure this hospital is built at the QEII Medical site and we will start construction in our first term.

It won’t be an easy build but we know it can be managed.

I also announced that the Government I lead will make law and order a priority.

The Labor Government last week adopted the WA Liberal policy to expand the number of GPS tracking bracelets for serious offenders who breach a violence restraining order.

It’s about time. With a number of women tragically losing their lives allegedly at the hands of ex-partners this year, this measure will ensure those offenders who breach a violence restraining order will either be tracked or go to jail.

It’s a small victory for common sense.

As we head into 2024, the focus of the Liberal team will also be on continuing to hold the Government to account and release policies that go back to fixing the basics — health, housing, crime and cost-of-living.

Unlike the Premier for special events and concerts, my focus will be on the issues that matter most to West Australians.

A couple of weeks ago Roger Cook told me in his typically union-based rhetoric to “bring it on”.

I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge so that is exactly what I plan to do.

Make no mistake, my team and I are in this to win the 2025 election.

We cannot afford another four years of a broken health system, of rising crime and out of control cost-of-living pressures.

We cannot afford another four years of an incompetent Premier and a Government that does not know how to govern.

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